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UK accidentally sent emails intended for Pentagon to Russia’s ally Mali

Malian military personnel. (File photo by AFP)

The UK has mistakenly sent emails, containing classified information, intended for the Pentagon to the military forces in the African country of Mali, which is a Russian ally, because of a typing error.

According to a report by the Times on Thursday, UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials were supposed to be sending emails to the Pentagon, but accidentally sent them to Mali’s government instead.

The mistake was the result of a typo, as the Pentagon’s domain name is “.mil,” while Mali’s is “.ml.”, the report said.

British authorities launched an investigation after the media report.

“We have opened an investigation after a small number of emails were mistakenly forwarded to an incorrect email domain,” a spokesperson for MoD said on Friday.

The Times’ report added while most emails sent to Mali were “innocuous” like information about when the foreign ministry’s employees were on holiday, some contained “detailed descriptions” of British research into hypersonic missiles.

However, the MoD rebuked the Times for what it described as a misleading report about the incident.

“This report misleadingly claims state secrets were sent to Mali’s email domain,” it said.

MoD claimed the emails sent to Mali were fewer than 20 and did not contain any sensitive information.

“We assess fewer than 20 routine emails were sent to an incorrect domain and are confident there was no breach of operational security or disclosure of technical data,” the ministry tweeted.

“An investigation is ongoing. Emails of this kind are not classified as secret or above.”

Earlier this month, an investigation by the Financial Times revealed that since 2014, the US Army has been mistakenly sending millions of emails meant for the Pentagon to Mali, again as a result of the same typo.

It said some of these emails included sensitive information, such as diplomatic documents, tax returns, passwords, and officers’ travel details.

Mali is among the six African nations Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to provide with free grain shipments within the next few months.

On Thursday, Putin told a summit of African leaders that Russia will provide Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic, and Eritrea with 25-50,000 tons of free grain each in the next 3-4 months to honor Moscow’s critical role in global food security.

The announcement came after Moscow’s decision to quit the Black Sea grain deal, which allowed Ukraine to ship grain from its seaports despite the war.

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